Friday, December 14, 2007

The Dream-Quest of the Unknown Kadath

Even as a teenager, this passage terrified me, the image especially that Lovecraft paints, of shuffling, chaos-gnawing collossi ranging behind the mountains in a red-tinted, non-euclidean gloom; a totally absurd passage (monsters wearing mitres?) made all the more frightening by its absurdity and the shattering silence in which the tableau is beheld:

Carter did not lose consciousness or even scream aloud, for he was an old dreamer; but he looked behind him in horror and shuddered when he saw that there were other monstrous heads silhouetted above the level of the peak, bobbing along stealthily behind the first one. And straight in the rear were three of the mighty mountain shapes seen full against the southern stars, tiptoeing wolflike and lumberingly, their tall mitres nodding thousands of feet in the air. The carven mountains, then, had not stayed squatting in that rigid semicircle north of Inquanok, with right hands uplifted. They had duties to perform, and were not remiss. But it was horrible, that they never spoke, and never even made a sound in walking.

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